Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie | Chicago Reader

Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie

Rated PG-13 73 minutes 1996

Whatever you think of the cable TV show—a postmodernist recycling operation in which characters watching a 40s or 50s movie make teenage wisecracks about how terrible it is—this is a dreadful spin-off (1996) that starts out on the wrong foot by selecting one of the better SF movies of the 50s, This Island Earth, as its “stinkburger.” A kidnapped Mike Nelson (playing himself) and robot pals Tom Servo, Gypsy, and Crow are watching this color feature on the so-called Satellite of Love while mad scientist Dr. Forrester (cowriter Trace Beaulieu) monitors their responses. The running time here is actually 13 minutes shorter than This Island Earth, even with the projection breaking down twice and an exceptionally feeble prologue and epilogue tacked on; the 50s movie is also shown in the wrong aspect ratio, with the top and bottom of every frame cut off, perhaps because the filmmakers realized that showing it correctly and completely would render the effort to ridicule it even more pathetic. Six people are credited with the atrocious script, one of them director Jim Mallon.

Film Credits

Director: Jim Mallon

Writer: Joel Hodgson, Trace Beaulieu, Jim Mallon, Kevin Murphy and Paul Chaplin

Producer: Jim Mallon

Cast: Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Kevin Murphy, Jim Mallon and John Brady

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